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Why create a social enterprise combining entrepreneurial leadership and cold brew?

Great question.  Part of it is because these are two things we are passionate about and instead of doing one then the other, we decided to combine them into a social enterprise.  So why Fifty5 Rivers Cold Brew? What is the significance of Fifty5 Rivers? In researching names we came across the following:

Why include rivers in our name?  Primarily because coffee and cold brew is made up of over 98% water.  We liked the idea of including a source of water in our name for this reason.  Plus we like that analogies that we found comparing leadership to water and rivers.  The essential leadership approach based on Taoistic leadership can be described as “Wateristic”. Chen and Lee (2007) wrote an excellent book called Leadership and Management in China: Philosophies, Theories, and Practices. They summarized the wateristic leadership in five key features (p.90-93):

  1. Water is altruistic to others.
  2. Water is modest and humble.
  3. Water is adaptive and flexible.
  4. Water is transparent and clear.
  5. Water is gentle, yet persistent.

We knew we were going to have 5 core values and we were thinking about 5 traits of leadership.  When we saw the water analogy above, we decided to combine the 5s together (hence 55) and we believe in always moving forward, hence the rivers (usually they move forward).  That is where Fifty5 Rivers comes from and that is why our logo shows the Fifty and the 5 tied together, we believe they are tied together and hence the beginning of our journey.

So who are we?

Fifty5 Rivers Cold Brew is a family owned business.  The co-founders, James and Lynne, have been together since the mid 90s and are in the process of raising their own children (daughter, 22 and son, 19), plus their loveable 8 year old Pitbull Mix, Bo. In addition to the parental duties James and Lynne have successfully started and exited businesses in the past.  Together they have found something that resonates with them in Fifty5 Rivers Cold Brew and they are ready to start their next business adventure together.

James has long been in the realm of entrepreneurial leadership. After participating in Teen Institute, a youth leadership and drug prevention program that’s stuck with James since, he has moved on to helping others find their own dynamic leadership style. He has been in various small business leadership roles,and co-owned a successful pet-waste company with his wife, Lynne. 

In James’ business coaching, he stresses the same leadership skills that have driven his companies to success: communication, commitment, and self-awareness. As a lifelong motivator and mentor, James is working to see that the leadership skills that helped him grow as a father and as a person continue to be taught to young leaders today.

Like James, Lynne has worked as a successful business co-owner and a guiding mother for their children (pets count as children in our household). Lynne has mastered the art of leadership in the everyday setting. Responsible for overseeing the day-to-day management of the pet-waste company, Lynne has proven her empathy and care in interactions with clients.

Lynne understands what makes a leader, particularly in younger leaders due to her background as a child therapist. This experience has allowed her to actively listen to future leaders and empower them to address their own struggles with strength, commitment, and creativity. In addition, her work as an independent sales consultant brought Lynne the insight into living by and teaching a philosophy.  

Lynne believes that these experiences have brought her to the Fifty5 Rivers Manifesto she embraces today.

Small business ownership has been a theme in our family since the late 00s and our children have benefited from being actively involved in our businesses and are part of this business as well.  We constantly encourage them to be leaders in their life and in our business adventures.

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